On top of the world!

This blog post is dedicated to the Alderley Cami (pattern by Sew Over It) which, when I looked at the instructions, looked like one of the most daunting pieces of clothing I might ever choose to make. The words “cut on the bias” sent chills down my spine, knowing that this was going to be tricky. Cutting on the bias means that the fabric is a lot easier to stretch out of shape and needs more delicate handling than some of the other things I’d done so far. This meant changing the gung-ho tactics on the sewing machine and being slightly more skilled with handling the fabric. 

My original plan on a Friday afternoon felt reasonable. 

  • Get the fabric cut today. 
  • Leave the cut pieces on the table over the weekend
  • Start sewing the top on Monday

I stuck the pattern pieces together** over what felt like half a day and looking at the lay plan had my fabric folded and the pieces lined up ready to go. Something made me just quickly check the online video before I decided to cut it only to find that the guidance was not to fold the fabric when cutting on the bias, but to cut most of it except for the longest edge, flip it over and cut the rest again. 

Lesson #8 – When you have a video tutorial available, view it before you start anything! It will save you heartache and time in the future. 

Emma Nye, 2020

So I watched the cutting guide, corrected my technique and cut out the pattern pieces. Bingo – ready to go for Monday, and thinking nothing more of it I put them on the table and went about my business. However, at around 10pm, something made me heed my own advice and I thought I’d just have a quick preview of the video tutorials in full to see what lay ahead of me after the weekend. Video 2 – stay stitching. “Make sure you do this straight after you cut fabric on the bias as the fabric can lose its shape or stretch a bit” – OH GREAT! Then came visions of fabric that had doubled in width or resembled something different. Change of plan then – revisit the stay stitching step first thing in the morning, because I don’t think I could get away with going downstairs to do it at 10pm.

I wouldn’t say I lost sleep over some sewing, but I was awake ridiculously early and all I could think about was the fact I hadn’t stay stitched that damn top. At around 8am, I decided I’d quickly tackle that part, and then go back to the original Monday sewing plan. As any of you know, whether it be sewing or something else, it’s sometimes really hard to find a good point to stop. While I had everything set up, I kept thinking that I might as well just do the next bit which was bust darts – and they were haunting me just as much as the top itself. Fast forward to 3pm, and I had the full top made, including the binding with just the hem to finish, as I had actually read ahead and noted that I would need to leave it to hang at least overnight before I could completely finish it. 

Lesson #9 – It’s great that you read things, but still watch the videos ahead of time for helpful hints.

EMMA NYE, 2020

When I again took my own advice, watched the videos and realised that I had used the type of coat hanger that Lisa recommended not to use, I swiftly changed it to a different one. With the panic hanger switch over completed, and a clearer view of what was left, I slept a lot better on Saturday night! 

Sunday morning:
I’d got the bug! I finished the hem. A fiddly one but it looked fantastic once I’d finished. Paired with the Pyjama shorts, I now had my first ever fully hand made set of Pyjamas, and they actually fit me too. There’s a feeling that you just can’t beat!

Once I’ve received my A0 printed patterns, I’m moving onto some cotton jersey to try out different fabrics and techniques. Until then though, time for some other mini projects to keep me learning. 

Happy sewing!

Em x 

** Side note. I’m currently using A4 pdf patterns, printing and sticking them together but have just ordered a bulk of printed A0 ones so that I don’t have to sprawl out on the floor for hours with the sellotape and scissors before I can do any actual fabric cutting! Learned very quickly that A4 patterns are great for the smaller items, but awful for anything bigger than 4 pages wide. 

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